Eating in the canteen is simply part of student life. In a dense crowd, people line up at the counters and choose from the various daily specials. The Studierendenwerk Hamburg has now published which dishes the students prefer to order. EAT SMARTER presents the – not always smart – dishes.

Canteen: The university hotspot

Anyone who spends the whole day at the university, attending lecture after lecture or studying hard in the library will at some point long for a warm meal, a crunchy salad, or simply a coffee break. To satisfy your cravings, head to the number one university hotspot: the canteen. This is where people meet, relax and, of course, eat. In addition to all kinds of snacks, breakfast options, and drinks, there is also an inexpensive lunch menu with dishes that change daily.

Around 82 percent of students throughout Germany eat in the canteen of their university or college – around three times a week. But which cafeteria food is the students’ favorite?

The top 5 canteen meals

The student union in Hamburg has now announced which canteen food is served most frequently in the Hanseatic city. Here is the result:


  1. currywurst with french fries
  2. chicken crosses with paprika rice
  3. Jägerschnitzel with French fries
  4. Spaghetti Bolognese
  5. chicken breast fillets filled with broccoli

Of course, the range of canteen food at the universities and colleges in Hamburg is much larger. From Asian to Italian to vegan, everything is included. Despite this, the Egyptian falafel only comes in twelfth place in the ranking – but it is still on the rise.

Canteens in Hamburg

In Hamburg, around 23,000 guests eat every day in13 canteens, 13 cafés, and seven café shops run by the student union in the Hanseatic city. “No other restaurant in the city offers so much choice and such good quality at such a low price,” says Jürgen Altemeyer, Managing Director of the Hamburg Student Union, at the annual meeting of all canteen managers of the German Student Union (DSW).

A complete canteen meal is available from as little as 2.50 euros per dish so that people with a smaller budget can also eat well.